Mid-Atlantic

November, 2006
Regional Report

Clean Out Pond

Remove debris like leaves and twigs from your pond. If you shut down the pond for winter, remove the water pump and filter. Rinse dirt from pump parts and filter. Store all parts together (in the same box is good) so they'll be easy to find in spring. I also bail out water from small ponds so there's less freeze damage. If you leave the pond running through winter, take a few minutes now to rinse summer's debris accumulation from pump and filter. Check hoses and electrical cords for wear. Replace parts as needed.

Wrap Fig Tree

In zones 6 and 7, growing the edible fig tree (Ficus carica) involves weather protection and good luck. The fig grows best in Mediterranean warm-to-temperate climates. Fully dormant trees are hardy to 12 to 15 degrees F. With extra care, figs will grow in wetter, cooler areas. For protection in colder climes, erect a frame over the plant, then cover and surround it with protective material, such as heavy carpet. This winter I'm making a bamboo tepee for a young fig that's easily 6 feet wide and tall. Because it's so large, I'm wrapping the tree/frame with Reemay protective cloth, overlaying that with burlap, and stuffing the structure with leaves. And crossing my fingers.

Drain and Store Irrigation Hoses

Before the first hard freeze or frigid snow, turn off and drain watering and irrigation systems. Remove and drain hoses. Turn off indoor on/off levers to outside hose bibs. Open outdoor faucets so water drains out; otherwise water will freeze in the pipe and possibly cause pipe or faucet parts to crack. Also remove and store splitters and connectors for use next spring. DO NOT remove black, permeable soaker hoses; they can remain in shrub and perennial beds throughout the winter.

Continue Watering

It may seem contradictory but new transplants still need water. Keep one hose or a large watering can handy to make it easy to continue watering newly planted shrubs, trees, and perennials. If there's no substantial rain, water deeply and long twice a month until a heavy snowfall or until the ground is frozen hard.

Dig and Store Summer Bulbs

In cool parts of zone 7 and colder zones, dig up canna rhizomes after frost wilts their foliage. Cut away dead foliage. Keep clumped soil around rhizomes and store them in peat moss at about 50 degrees. I nestle rhizomes in a cardboard box or shoebox till they start sprouting in spring. Bring potted cannas in before a hard freeze. Cut off dead foliage, then store plants (okay to keep in same pots) in a cool, dry spot. It's also fine to unpot, remove excess soil, then store them as described above.

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